Gamma’s house

Here is a picture of the house Gamma and I built over Easter. It is in our back yard.
Click on the small image for a much larger one, if you’re interested. houseth.jpg

My wife and I also bought a piece of furniture for our bedroom, which holds CDs and has a flat area on top upon which our CD player just barely fits. I was shocked to discover upon unpacking it that it came pre-assembled. Our CD rack, I mean, not the house. The house we had to assemble, believe me. I had the walls 75% up when my wife asked whether I was sure the roof would fit, with the overhang and all, back there by the neighbor’s house. Of course I had not considered that, but it happened to just fit.


The other day? At orchestra rehearsal (our motto here at “Putting the hearse back in rehearsal”)? This guy? This other grown man who also plays in the orchestra? And has a daughter playing in it as well, like I do? Only he plays bass and his daughter plays cello? And not he plays cello and his daughter harp, like me? He asked me if I wanted to play in a string quartet with him? For grown-up pikers like us? And I was all, yeah, excellent, just not until fall cause this orchestra thing is stressing me out enough already? And he was all like, of course, same here? And I was all like, to myself, excellent, this can mean one of only two things: either my playing is getting better, or the orchestra is drowning me out, either way I don’t have to worry about the orchestra concerts coming up in a week or two?

The quartet, of course, will be another story entirely.

Take out the garbage

bug27-1.gif bug27-2.gif bug27-3.gif bug27-4.gif
Originally posted Feb. 2004

Little-known facts about the flying fish


  • The flying fish is not picky, living in all oceans. The major ones, at least.

  • The flying fish flies to elude predators.
  • They can glide at up to 60 kilometers per hour, and although usually their flights are short, they have been seen gliding for hundreds of meters, using the updraft on waves.
  • This sounds an awful lot like surfing, which is done for fun, not to escape predators, man.
  • When it was a kid, the flying fish’s favorite TV program was “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” mostly because of the flying sub.
  • After a stupid argument with someone it loves, the flying fish sometimes goes for a spontaneous walk.
  • Walking along a creek at dawn, the world thunders in the flying fish’s hearing apparatus like a busy airport next door to a tin-hammering factory.
  • The noise dies down only gradually and the flying fish wonders if this was the way things were for its dad when he used to go for long walks at night when the flying fish was a kid, back when its dad was the age it is now, and is this a result of the age, and how were things between its parents anyway back then, it remembers them arguing about its dad coming home drunk a couple times, but doesn’t know if he came home drunk a lot, if it was a bad phase, or if it was only a few times and its mom just blew it out of proportion, or if its father would agree that it was a lot, or too much or how anyone saw it. The flying fish remembers lying in bed and listening to them whisper, its mother’s angry, accusing whisper and its father’s drunken, jovial and impatient-growing whisper, and doesn’t notice things are getting quiet until it notices it can hear a swan making swan noises, and ducks quacking.
  • It wonders, did walks calm its father this much? Walks at night? Are they as good as walks at dawn, the flying fish wonders. Because the light at dawn, not bad man. The clarity, the shine of the world. The swans. The way ducks look small and insufficient next to a swan, although they probably think the swans are way too big and prone to bird flu and a bad color – white – that gets dirty way too easy, while the swans maybe think, eat my wake, duck.
  • And the flying fish has internalized Sigmund Freud, which is a big money-saver since this way every internal conversation saves it a hundred bucks. The flying fish says, I don’t understand women, Sigmund, and Freud just laughs and laughs.
  • Freud says, your problem is, she’s right about everything and you don’t like it because you’re a judgemental misogynistic nit-picker with a superiority complex. You must kill off your shadow souls. At this point, the flying fish notices that Sigmund Freud is not only Sigmund Freud. Being dead, Freud says to the flying fish, I meet a lot of shamans and shit. In fact, Freud looks a lot like that Carlos Santana peyote guy Don something. And he also looks Chinese. He looks at the flying fish and says, call me Dang Won. Or Dong Wan. Up to you. After all, you internalized me, not the other way around.
  • The flying fish looks closely at Sigmund/Dong Wan and notices he also looks a bit like its, the flying fish’s, inner child. So it talks to him. If it can get a word in edgewise, because the flying fish is polite and not prone to interrupt conversation partners. Freud/Wan is telling the fish to kill all its shadow souls. All the things it is not. It will be a real bloodbath, he says to the flying fish.
  • You are good at heart, says Freud. But it is constricted and barely beating like the small rubber core of a way-old softball battered and repaired with layers of tape until it is twice its natural size. The fish replies, look at that sunrise would you, and smell that air. And look at that duck flying up the creek a foot above the water, flying like it’s late for a job interview.
  • The flying fish feels better already, no matter what the future brings.


There is this German boy band. This German boy band.

Perhaps you are familiar with them, perhaps not.

I don’t know how their music is. I saw them once on MTV, but didn’t really listen.

Little girls hereabouts are quite hysterical over them.

They were the band Gamma loved to hate for the past few months. Her best friend at school hates them, so she did too. But there was always a certain fascination, you know what I mean?

They were interviewed on the radio and Alpha insisted on listening, to give Gamma an excuse to listen, grudgingly, and she did, with fascination.

Then we visited some friends, parents of Gamma’s best friends from back in nursery school who have, guess what, 20 posters of this band in their rooms. The friends, not the parents.

And the band happened to be on a TV show that night. The dad had a big telescope and we looked at Saturn, which was amazing, but they only glanced and then ran back inside to watch the boy band and discuss various details of their existence.

Such as which one do you like best, the twin with long hair? The singer twin with the makeup? The other one?

When I got home last night, Gamma had bought two magazines with her own money and taped eight posters to her walls, as well as dozens of smaller photos she had cut out.

She wants a CD for her ninth birthday.

She wants to go to their concert when they come to town. I told her they were just in town. She wants to go next time they come. We’ll see, we said.

She is so much happier now that she can stop pretending not to like them and just be a hysterical little fan.

Scientific method

We went to a thing with Gamma. At the university, this university thing for kids. Yesterday evening. She wants to do this summer university program for kids, and they had this introductory thing yesterday evening. They took the kids on a tour of the building. Before that, they sat in this room and explained the scientfic method to the kids.

It was so boring, there was nearly a riot. Poor kids. A lady from the radio interviewed Gamma, it was broadcast today, the first 10 seconds of her 15 minutes of fame.

But the thing got me thinking about, about the scientific method, and how I’m testing a hypothesis for the next two weeks. The hypothesis is, getting enough sleep will improve the quality of my life.

Very simple. Instead of getting up early and meditating and writing, I sleep until 5.45 AM and rush to work. Then at lunch, I walk somewhere and tell myself I’m meditating while walking.

Writing, ehn. Can’t have everything.

I began research yesterday.

So far, after nearly sufficient sleep two days in a row (“sufficient” defined as 8 hours straight), I find myself more depressed than I have been in a long time. Otherwise, no great changes yet. One complication research has run into is my apparent inability to sleep past 4 AM. Two days in a row, I’ve woken up at 4 and tried to fall back to sleep until 5.45. This morning, I tried to meditate there in bed, figuring, either I meditate or I fall back to sleep, win-win. Then, after 20 minutes of that, I thought positive thoughts until it was time to get up and tinkered around in a great mood until I arrived at work, since which time see above.

I will continue testing this until the 2 weeks are up, and publish my results here.

Maybe even on a daily basis, if I can’t think of anything else to write about.

Who knows. But there’s always something to write about. I was looking at the newspaper with Gamma. She likes to read the paper. There was some article in the Sunday paper about male archetypes. They used various celebrities to illustrate the article, and I was quizzing her about which ones were cute. None of them were, not even Colin Farrel. But this one looks a little like you, she said, pointing at the picture of George Clooney, the